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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Patrick from Zuki was kind enough to send me one of his new 6 channel amps for testing and review. He is very modest and refers to this amp as "a spare parts amp". I went into this not quite knowing what to expect, but was extremely surprised. This amp was obviously given a large amount of careful thought and attention, it is the furthest thing away from a hurried attempt at slapping an amp together. With the omission of glaring branding or shiny trim, this amp's fit and finish rival anything that I've encountered. It is well made, everything fits tightly from the set screws to the adjustment pots. It simply screams high quality at every corner.

I am in a unique position to review this amp, as I have very recently tried several of the high end 5/6 channel amps that have come to market. I have had both the JL HD 900/5 and the Zed Leviathan in my system and have conducted this review as a comparison between the Zuki and the other two amps and should hopefully make the purchasing decision a bit easier for those in the market for a "do it all amp".

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I tested the Zuki in the following 2 configurations receiving signal off of a 880prs.
2-way front stage with bridged sub channel:
Seas reed 7 inch mid - ER18RNX
Morel MDT-39 tweeter
JL 10 W0
3-way front stage with external subwoofer amp:
ID OEM V1 midwoofer
Tang Band 3" bamboo mid W3-1364SA
Tang Band ceramic tweeter 25-1719S
DIYMA R12 subwoofer
(I have recently done another install in my 2ndary car using a DEX-P99RS, and will be doing a similar comparison as well)

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2-way front stage + sub: All of the drivers were 8ohm drivers, as Patrick instructed me to use 8ohm or higher drivers, especially when using a subwoofer bridged. First of all, those who are worried about a lack of power from a Zuki - DON'T. This thing puts out clean power for days. I was previously using a 4 channel x 150 watt amp to push these components, and the Zuki pushed them just as hard without breaking a sweat. When compared to the JL amp, the Zuki was a bit cleaner in this configuration, and provided a bit more detail towards the high end. This was apparent on several of my demo tracks that have percussion that approaches the high end of the spectrum. They had a bit more shimmer and detail over the HD. In a moving car, I doubt that this would be apparent. The Morel tweeters are not known for being super low distortion drivers, so I'd take my observation in this configuration with a grain of salt. As for the subwoofer, the Zuki performed very admirably, and pushed the subwoofer past the "noticeable" point. I like subwoofer to operate behind the scenes, so I felt no need to turn it up further.

In this configuration, this amp is a bit of a conundrum. Most people, when looking for a single amp solution, are concerned with space/power savings. In my extremely informal testing, this amp is not that power efficient, as it killed my car battery while auditioning for less than an hour (something that my other amps have had no problem with in the past). I do have to say that this was an extremely informal and unintentional way of testing power efficiency. Keep in mind that this is still an A/B amp compared against the class D architecture of the Zed and the JL. The Zeds' seem to be more designed for efficiency as Steve has mentioned several times to me that the Leviathan is incredibly efficient, and does not need cooling. So this needs to be kept in mind for those who are concerned with efficiency. As for those who are concerned with size, the Zuki is a tough pill to swallow, as it is HUGE! It is a bit bigger than the Leviathan, and is more than 2 times as big as the JL. For those who are not concerned with either size or efficiency, and are only concerned with value/sound quality, the Zuki is very very tough to beat in this comparison. It is priced very competitively, and their established a/b design has been proven by Zuki to deliver excellent sound quality, which was completely borne out in my testing.

The main takeaway that I had in this setup is that the Zuki was clean and effortless. Everything was crystal clear and it felt like it had headroom for days and days. This thing is miles ahead of amps that I've listened to in the past that include the Alpine PDX series, Pioneer A/B amps, and JL Slashes.

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3-way front stage: This was comprised of a mix of 4 and 8 ohm drivers. The amp had absolutely no problem playing these speakers without overheating. As for usability impressions, this is where the amp really shined. It provided an easy way for me to go with a 3-way front setup with only a 2-way capable head unit. I utilized and widened the head unit's tweeter output to drive both the Tang band Tweeters and mids using an RCA splitter. I mounted the actual drivers close together to negate the need to individually time align the drivers. The amp provided flexible crossover settings for me to perfectly split the signal between the tweeters and mids.

Doing this really breathed new life into my system. I realize that some 2-way systems sound fantastic, but going 3-way and being able to use the Tang Band mids as point source drivers really brought more clarity and coherence to much of the music I listen to. It was much easier to create a rock steady center stage for me no matter what range of music I was listening to. Clarity and dynamics were extremely impressive again with this amp. It has no weaknesses in terms of SQ.

The JL's crossovers do not have the range or capability to do this kind of setup. If you want to do a true 3-way front stage with a JL amp, it is impossible without a HU or processor capable of handling the crossover network. The crossovers on the JL amp are useless for accomplishing something like this.

Like the Zuki, the Zed Leviathan has very flexible crossovers as well, and easily matches the Zuki in terms of flexibility. The main takeaway of this configuration is VALUE. This is just about the easiest and cheapest way of upgrading to a 3-way soundstage setup. I know many of us have 880prs' and wish they could magically turn it into one of the new DEX-p99rs'. I know that this isn't nearly the same thing, but it is a huge step in the right direction. I think the main thing to keep in mind is to keep the mid and tweeter close together so they can be time aligned together. I am enjoying this configuration immensely, the sound is fantastic from the amp, ultra clear without effort. The ID OEM V1's are not the most efficient speakers in the world, but the Zuki is able to push them as hard as I want. In fact, I've noticed rattles in the car that I haven't heard before. I can partially attribute this to the ID's playing less of the higher frequency band, so rattles are more apparent in the door, but I can also attribute this to the ton of clean power that the Zuki is spitting out.

After using the Zuki in this configuration, I feel that this amp goes a long way to embody the DIYMA spirit. It is a no nonsense, no frills amp that lets you use and experiment with drivers in a flexible setup. It really empowers the user to DO IT YOURSELF and to experiment in a quick and user friendly manner. Using this amp to morph my 880prs into being 3-way capable is nothing short of awesome. The results of doing this are fantastically impressive and rewarding and I am glad that the amp gave me the opportunity to get my "tinkerers' fix" and try something new out.

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To sum up the battles:
Zuki vs. JL - Zuki wins on value, SQ, and flexibility. With the Zuki you can create your own 3-way setup. JL wins on size and the fact that all the connectors are on one side. The JL also utilizes some cool plug system.
Zuki vs. Levithan - These amps are very similar both in design and excellence in SQ. They are like distant cousins, separated by their A/B and D designs. They are both sexy as hell and boast a super clean minimal design. Both are very heavy and are large. They do not make any excuses or exceptions in chasing SQ. Both of them will let you have your own 3-way network your way like Burger King. The huge advantage that the Zuki has is in price. The Zuki is priced currently at 375+shipping. While the Leviathan may put out a bit more power and use less current while doing so, It's hard to argue with a price difference of ~ 200 dollars. That is 200 dollar that could be spent on more components to experiment with. I would be absolutely ecstatic to have either of these amps in my setup. I do not have golden ears, nor do I have fancy measuring equipment. I can say that both of these amps sound stellar in terms of sound quality.

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Zuki last thoughts - So for those of you who skipped to the end, this amp is fantastic. I would choose it any day over the JL HD if size is not a concern. I would choose it any day over the Leviathan if I wanted an extra 200 bucks in my pocket. It has allowed me to easily go to a 3-way front sound stage via hardware alone, and sounds awesome while doing it. Power is not an issue, the Zuki puts out MORE than enough power to drive 8 ohm drivers as loud as I want. It is built with a minimal industrial aesthetic that everyone should like unless you like flashing lights and chromed plastic. It is heavily heavily heavily recommended.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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nice review, got me interested. +props. few questions though....

What are the dimensions? LxWxH

What is the difference between this one and the final version that retails for $605?

Got any Pics? of the Amp itself and/or your setup?
 

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Thanks for the review! Very well written too. It's nice to hear other people's opinions on this amp as I really LOVE the one I have in my car.

Stockley.rod, the amp measures 20"x10.5"x2.5". Pictures of the amp can be found in my review thread of it here:

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/member-product-reviews/74891-zuki-audio-6-channel.html

As for differences between this model and the ELEETS production model:

- Improved heatsink for improved cooling
- Higher quality components used throughout
- Improved power supplies
- All connections are on the same side of the amp like the rest of the ELEETS amp line

There are a few others, but those are the main "highlights" if you will.

Cheers,

Zach
 

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Thanks Boostedrex, this thing looks badass. Excellent review katodevin!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Rex - I honestly can't imagine SQ-wise, what the Eleets could improve over this amp. I'm extremely happy with this thing. :)
 

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I'm hoping to have a few of the new ELEETS amps here soon. So I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts on that. And I told you that you'd like this amp. Glad I wasn't wrong. LOL! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yah, the tinkerer in my couldn't resist the setup flexibility it gave me. Like giving a kid keys to a candy store.

I'm putting together my impressions of it in a more "standard" system with a DEX-p99rs, Exodus Anarchy midbass, Hybrid L1's and Hybrid L1v2's. Since the HU has a crapload of processing, the flexibility was less important, and I was able to focus more on the SQ aspects.
 

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Too cool. Did you mean L3's and L1v2's though? :) I run the 6 channel in my car as just an amp with my DRZ doing all the processing. Your latest test will most closely mimick my own rig. Nice choice in gear by the way.
 

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I don't mean to derail the thread and I've read this review a couple times (and got to page 10-ish in the "Debate" thread then gave up, and read the other 6 channel thread by Zach)...but I couldn't come up with a concrete answer, partly because this amp isn't an Eleets and ohm ratings weren't brought up much in the other thread.

Let's say you have:
8 ohm tweeters
4 ohm mids
4 ohm sub (single 4, one sub)

Doable with this amp? Yes/No? :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you are going to bridge 2 channels for a 4 ohm sub, it is not recommended.

I tested with an 8ohm sub on the bridged channels.
 

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Aha. Well, there's no way I can fit another sub how I want it (cone facing the interior) and if were to reverse a pair and get an 8 ohm load, I might as well use the 3 amps I have anyway. The single Zuki would look so killer and save sooooooo much space/wiring hassle.

No 4 ohm bridge...why... :(
 

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Great job on your review Kato. I debated over getting this amp for a while, but in the end size & the impedence restrictions with different setups made me go another route.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm going to hook this up to my SI BM MKIII with the sub wired to 8ohms and see what kind of output I get. I'm thinking that it is more than powerful enough to not have to worry about the impedance restrictions. I'll post an update with the results.
 

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So you ran this with the 880prs and split the "tweeter" RCA from the prs for the mid/tweeter (crossing them over on the amp) if I understand correctly. This means the lowest your midrange/midbass crossband could be is 1.25k on the PRS (since that is the lowest you can cross the "tweeter" line). Not exactly Ideal for a 3-way front stage. You should see much better results with the p99 I'd imagine.

Nice review though. I plan to use the L1/L3/Anarchys in my 3-way front setup as well, should be interesting. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So you ran this with the 880prs and split the "tweeter" RCA from the prs for the mid/tweeter (crossing them over on the amp) if I understand correctly. This means the lowest your midrange/midbass crossband could be is 1.25k on the PRS (since that is the lowest you can cross the "tweeter" line). Not exactly Ideal for a 3-way front stage. You should see much better results with the p99 I'd imagine.
Correct. I set the slope as shallow as possible @ 6db, and still got very good extension for the mids. Did some EQ bumping ~ 800hz, and was very impressed with the sound.

Nice review though. I plan to use the L1/L3/Anarchys in my 3-way front setup as well, should be interesting. :)
Yah, this is a really good combo. I'm lovin it. I don't know why more people aren't jumping on these Anarchys.
 

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Nice review!
 

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its a nice review
But i have one question , How come no one ever talks about how much power they put out??

Is that a top secret number??
is it a surprise me number?? you buy one and it makes 120W (surprise )





im just J/K

but really how much does the damn thing put out??
 

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its a nice review
But i have one question , How come no one ever talks about how much power they put out??

Is that a top secret number??
is it a surprise me number?? you buy one and it makes 120W (surprise )





im just J/K

but really how much does the damn thing put out??
5 watts x 6 channels @ 8ohms. Its listed right on the website.
 
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